LACONIA — Belknap County commissioners are planning to meet with local officials over the next seven weeks to discuss the proposed $26.6 million county budget for 2014 as well as the ongoing jail planning process.
The meetings start today with commissioner slated to be on the agenda at the 3:30 p.m. meeting of the Tilton Selectboard and at the 7 p.m. meeting of the New Hampton Selectboard.
''We think it's important to have these meetings with town officials,'' said Chairman John Thomas (R-Belmont) when the commission met Wednesday morning. ''We want to go over the budget and our priorities with towns. We realize that it's a major time commitment for local officials to serve and want to keep the meetings as brief as possible, but also be there to answer questions they may have.'' said Thomas.
Commissioners also expect to be questioned about the planning which has been going on for nearly two years on a proposed new county jail, according to Commissioner Ed Philpot Jr. (D-Laconia), who chairs the County Jail Planning Committee.
The committee has been looking at an interim solution to crowded conditions at the Belknap County House of Corrections which would involve a $3.5 million bond issue. The funds would be used for 48-bed temporary housing unit, which would cost $1,584,681 for a three-year contract; $500,000 for a schematic design for a new county correction facility and $1 million for replacing the HVAC system at the current jail.
Next week commissioners will be in Belmont on Monday at 5 p.m. to meet with selectmen and will meet the same day with Gilmanton selectmen at 6:30 p.m.
The commissioners will meet with Gilford selectmen on Wednesday, December 18 at 7 p.m. and with the Laconia City Council on Monday, December 23 at 7 p.m.
Next month they are scheduled to meet with Meredith selectmen on Monday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m.; Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. in Center Harbor; Tuesday, January 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Barnstead and Wednesday, January 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Sanbornton.